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It was a dreary and rainy day in Ripley. Which to Vanessa seemed like the everyday thing. Ripley was the kind of town people made an effort to avoid. Businesses were driven out, it seemed to be raining every day, and there was one little school on the top of a hill that was inches away from shutting down. But that day Vanessa didn’t notice, her mind was too occupied on her Uncle Steve. Who had just passed a few days earlier. Vanessa's uncle was the only person in this world who made her feel even remotely important. Without him Vanessa was back to her unimportant insecure self. Vanessa had one sister, who was the family prodigy. Standing next to Georgia made Vanessa feel even more unimportant that she regularly did, but since their uncle died Georgia was in the same mindset as Vanessa. That was until that afternoon.
"Vanessa! Vanessa!" Georgia yelled as she barged into Vanessa's room. Vanessa wiped the tears from her eyes "What?" "I found a map" "So? Your eighteen, aren't maps for babies?" "I found it in Uncle Steve's house while mom and I were cleaning it out." A knot formed in Vanessa's stomach. The thought of her Uncles house empty and abandoned made her feel empty. "And?" Vanessa asked. "The map goes from right here in Ripley all the way to Oklahoma!" "Oklahoma? That’s where Uncle Steve grew up!" "Yeah, there's some type of X over a point on the map, come see!" Vanessa sat up from her bed and walked over to her sister. "Wow, that looks almost exactly where he grew up." "Ha, your sixteen. Aren't maps for babies?" Georgia said in a snarky tone. "Why are you telling me all this?" Vanessa asked. "I think we should drive to Oklahoma and see what is at that X!" "That is the most insane thing I have ever heard." "Why?" "There are too many risks. Remember those two people that have total control over what we do, mom and dad?!" "We can easily sneak past them." "You, can easily sneak past them, I will be right here in this room alone." Vanessa said. "Whatever, I'll give you some time to think about it, were leaving tomorrow." "What do you mean we're leaving?" Vanessa asked. "Well if you were going to go I was going to invite that boy toy of yours from the supermarket." Georgia replied. "For the last time, Patrick is not my boyfriend, or my boy toy. We are just friends." "Sure." Georgia replied to her sister sarcastically as she walked out of her room.
That night Vanessa stayed up for a long time, thinking about the trip she could go on, and what her uncle would tell her, but it was hard to tell what he was going to say because he was so spontaneous and exciting. So Vanessa was all alone to make this decision, but she decided to sleep instead.
When Vanessa awoke she was sitting in the living room of her Uncle Steve's house, after a few seconds she heard the tea kettle squeal. Who's making tea? Just as she finished her thought, her Uncle Steve walked out with a tray of biscuits and tea. "Uncle Steve?" "Hello Vanessa!" "What're you doing here? You passed away." Vanessa said. "Well I know you're having a slight predicament and so I decided to help you out." "With what?" Vanessa asked. "Well I wanted you to know that if I ever had an opportunity to go on any sort of adventure I would. And I wanted you to know that I am always watching over you and taking care of you, so don't worry." "Thank you Uncle Steve, I really needed to talk to you one last time. I miss you a lot." "I miss you so much more, but we will see each other again one day." Then Uncle Steve leaned over and kissed Vanessa on the forehead and disappeared into the air.
When Vanessa opened her eyes she was back in her bed, realizing that her heartfelt reuniting with her Uncle Steve was all just a dream. But, she knew now that she had to go on that trip, she had to know what was at the end of that map. So, she rushed to her closet and grabbed all the clothes her hand could hold and threw them inside her old duffle bag and grabbed a few other essentials, threw on her shoes and her raincoat and ran down the stairs to catch Georgia before her and Patrick left. She spotted them outside the kitchen window loading things into the Jeep and darted out the screen door.
"Georgia! Pat! Wait!" "You're coming?" Georgia asked. "How could I not?" Vanessa replied. "I'm really glad you're coming." Patrick says to Vanessa. "Me too, believe me." "Well lets get going then!" Georgia yelled. Luckily Georgia and Vanessa's parents were both at work, so sneaking past them wasn’t a problem. The three of them hopped into the Jeep and started on their adventure.
Georgia sat in the front with the map on the passenger seat, so that meant that Vanessa and Patrick sat side by side in the back seat. "We need to hit a gas station." Georgia said. "Why? We have a full tank." Patrick asked. "Well, we need to completely shut off our phones and pick up a few burners so mom and dad can't track us from Ohio." Georgia replied. "Good idea, we have to get to Oklahoma no matter what." Vanessa stated. "Are you guys nervous?" Patrick asked the two sisters. "Sort of, I've never been this far away from home before." Vanessa said. "I am not nervous, not even a little. Definitely pumping with adrenaline though." Georgia said with a laugh. "I think this is going to be great." Patrick said, sliding his hand over to hold Vanessa's.
After a few hours of driving they were finally in Indiana. "Hey G, do you think we should stop for the night?" Vanessa asked. "I guess, I am getting a little tired." "We could stay at a motel?" Patrick suggested. "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea." Vanessa agreed. So the three friends drove for another twenty minutes until they came across a small Motel 6 with enough room for all three of them.
Patrick ended up paying for both of the rooms, one for just Patrick and another for Georgia and Vanessa. "See you in the morning" Patrick said to both of the girls. The girls went inside the room and immediately laid down on each of the beds. "Do you think we will make it there?" Georgia asked. "I hope so, but why are you second guessing this trip? You're the most confident and sure person I know." Vanessa replied. "Not always, that’s just always what I have wanted people to think. The other side of myself I just kind of hide." "Why don't you just let someone in? You might feel better if you open up to someone you know?" Vanessa suggested. "I'm too scared, I've held these emotions in for so long, I guess I'm just afraid of what will happen when I let them all go. I wish I could be more like you V." Vanessa was in pure shock, her sister had never ever said anything that reflected even a little bit of jealousy towards her. "Nah, I'm a mess. I'm so scared of having emotions I just shut everyone out." "It'll be okay V, it gets easier." And in that moment Vanessa knew that it would be okay. So she shut her eyes and let herself drift off to sleep.
In the morning Georgia woke up long before Vanessa and Peter to start early on the adventure. She got everyone up and started loading up the jeep while Vanessa and Peter ate granola bars that Georgia had packed from the house. "Vanessa?" Georgia called. "What?" Vanessa replied. "Come here and look at this." So, Vanessa ran into the main room of the Motel room and looked at the television that Georgia was pointing towards. The News Reporter said, "Hello America; George Churchill here from Wake Up America! Today one mother from Bills Creek Ohio reported her two daughters missing, along with their youngest daughters friend. The two girls go by the names Vanessa and Georgia O'Neal, and their accomplice goes by Patrick Johnson. Both girls have long black hair, the youngest with teal streaks. Patrick has fawn hair with a light complexion whereas both girls have a dark tan complexion. Parents say they believe the children ran away from home but could also be an abduction due to the fact that no cars are missing from the family home. If you have any information please call the hotline on your screen below. Thank you."
Both girls stood in front of the television in shock. "What is going to happen if they find us?" "They won't. We are way to far out of Ohio for them to be looking for us." Georgia assured. "I'm just scared of the consequences." Vanessa said. "Well, if they are looking for us we better get out of here before they get here. Throw your phone out on the way out the door." So Vanessa did as Georgia said, throwing her smart phone in the motel garbage can without looking back. "Peter! Lets go!" Georgia said. "Coming!" So the three of them hopped back in the jeep and headed for Oklahoma and didn’t think twice about anything else.
They drove for about three hours straight occasionally making small conversation, until the car came to a stop. "What happened?" Vanessa asked. "That sign says welcome to Nebraska." Georgia answered. "Oh no." Patrick said. "What? Nebraska's nice." Vanessa said. "Yeah Nebraska is great, but it isn't on our way to Oklahoma." Patrick told Vanessa. "Let me see the map Georgia." Patrick told her. Georgia handed Patrick the map and within a second he found the problem. "You took the north route instead of the south route." "How long will it take us to get back to the south route?" "It might take us three hours, we have to completely backtrack all the driving we have done today." Mick said in a sad tone. "Great, just amazing!" Georgia said sarcastically.
After backtracking all of the driving Georgia finally saw the sign the glorious sign that said "Welcome To South Dakota!" The three friends cheered! Vanessa couldn’t remember being this happy since her Uncle Steve passed, she finally had been able to come to the fact that he was gone, but she knew she would see him again. So, she kept cheering with her best friend and her sister and hoped for the best in the end.
After driving a few hours through South Dakota Vanessa was ready to take a break, so instead of staying in a motel they decided to sleep in the Jeep with fear of the cops catching them. "Night guys." Vanessa said as she slowly closed her eyes, "Night, tomorrow we'll be at that X!" Patrick shouted. "Shhhh" Georgia said she they all three drifted off to sleep.
When the two sisters awoke, Vanessa could tell something was wrong. "Georgia, does something feel missing to you?" "The map!" Georgia yelled. "It must've blown out the window last night!" They looked all over the front and passenger sides of the car and on the sides of the road as far as they could walk, until finally returning to the Jeep. "Lets ask Patrick." Georgia suggested."I found it!" Vanessa called from the Jeep. Georgia ran to the Jeep and looked in the back to find Patrick, sleeping and using the map as a blanket. He slowly opened his eyes, "What?" "You had the map and we almost had a heart attack because we thought we lost it!" The three friends all began laughing, and Georgia started the ignition and they were on to Wyoming.
When they finally arrived in Wyoming, they were all as happy as could be knowing that their destination was only an hour away. "What do you think is where that X is V?" "Money?" Vanessa replied. "Well, looks like your about to find out." Patrick said as Georgia pulled into the driveway of an abandoned home. The three of them hopped out of the Jeep and ran to the backyard, where the X seemed to be located. When they finally reached the spot of the X the only thing that was there was an old hollowed out tree. "Seriously? I busted my butt for this stupid old tree?" Georgia yelled. Vanessa was stunned, she sat on the ground and cried. "Guys look!" Patrick yelled. The girls walked over, to see Patrick peering through a hole in the tree. Vanessa and Georgia looked inside and found a tall stack of journals! Vanessa grabbed a few and opened the first on the stack, and it read "I am writing these journals, to whomever may find them. My name is Stevie Breckenridge and I am 15 years old. I wanted to tell whoever is reading this that you are awesome, and important. Hopefully I am still alive when someone reads these so that they can find me right here in this house and we can become best friends. I hope my life will be amazing, and I hope your life is amazing. Stevie out." The stacks of books were full of entry's like those. And for the first time in forever, Vanessa felt important, and she knew that she was truly happy with herself.